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Noted Archaeologist Will Speak At Davidson About Parthenon Artwork

February 2, 2001
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu
Joan Connelly
Joan Connelly

Fans of archaeology and Greek mythology will be interested in an upcoming talk at Davidson College by Joan Breton Connelly, associate professor of fine arts at New York University. Connelly will present Davidson's annual Phi Beta Kappa lecture on Monday, February 12, on "Beyond the Icon: The Parthenon and its Sculptured Frieze." The talk begins at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Room of Chambers Building, and admission is free.

An art historian and archeologist, Connelly has excavated sites throughout Greece, Cyprus, and Kuwait for twenty years. Her major interests are Greek sculpture and vase painting, Greek myth and religion, Cypriot archaeology, the Hellenistic East.

In 1996 she wrote an article in the American Journal of Archaeology that set forth a new interpretation of artwork carved into the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Since the late 18th century, the Parthenon frieze had generally been viewed as a representation of the fifth-century Athenian citizenry participating in their annual Panathenaic procession. Because Greek temple decoration almost always referred to mythology, the frieze was viewed by archaeologists as an oddity in the field.

In her article, Connelly proposed that the frieze actually did refer to the mythological story of King Erechtheus, his wife Praxithea, and their three maiden daughters who gave their lives to save Athens in its first victory over outside agressors.

Connelly is also widely recognized as director of the Yeronisos Island Expedition and Field School in Cyprus. Yeronisos, or "Sacred Island," is a small rocky island just off the coast of western Cyprus. Since 1990, the Yeronisos Island Expedition project has pioneered the integration of ecological and archaeological fieldwork toward the goal of preserving natural and cultural resources.

A graduate of Princeton University, Connelly earned her masters and Ph.D. degrees in archaeology from Bryn Mawr College. She has received many fellowships and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, NYU Presidential Fellowship, NYU Golden Dozen Teaching Award, Metropolitan Museum of Art Classical Fellowship, and a Norbert Schimmel Fellowship. Her Web site for the Yeronisos project won a "Top Site Award" and Educational Index and Windows on Cyprus Award.

In addition to many articles in professional journals, she is the author of the 1998 book, Votive Sculpture of Hellenistic Cyprus, and of the forthcoming Women and Ritual: Priestesses in Greek Art and Society.

For more information on her upcoming talk at Davidson, call 894-2285.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson recently launched "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.

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